An attempt to do "Family" with the TOS cast, but it falls far short. The basic premise requires us to disregard the end of The Motion Picture, since iAn attempt to do "Family" with the TOS cast, but it falls far short. The basic premise requires us to disregard the end of The Motion Picture, since it appears when Kirk said, "Out there. Thataway," he actually meant, "Bring the ship back to spacedock," and when Spock said he had no more business on Vulcan, he meant he needed to go back there and tie up some loose ends....more
1) We all know security in Star Trek sucks, but this takes it to ridiculous levels. You have hostile diplomatic delegations onWay too many plot holes.
1) We all know security in Star Trek sucks, but this takes it to ridiculous levels. You have hostile diplomatic delegations on board, with staterooms practically next door to each other, and no security posted? Even after one of the ambassadors gets murdered, security only guards one of the delegations? Come on. Even with Chekov in charge, things shouldn't be that incompetent.
2) At one point Chekov mentions that the assassins couldn't have beamed on from a cloaked ship because transporters can't function while a cloaking device is on? Just one problem -- Chekov himself transported to and from a cloaked ship in Star Trek IV.
3) The Enterprise has alarms that go off whenever someone fires a phaser without authorization. Except when they don't. (Amusingly Chekov knows about this here, but in Star Trek VI he needs Valeris to explain it to him even though he's the head of security.)
4) Why the hell didn't Kirk launch the Copernicus the moment he learned about the Pavloid plan? When (view spoiler)[Lenore finally steals the shuttle, Kirk says he had just been thinking about dispatching it himself. But at that point ten minutes have already gone by. Launching the shuttle is the first thing that popped into my mind, but James T. Freaking Kirk takes ten minutes before he considers it? (hide spoiler)]...more
So this is Trek-lit's attempt to do Deep Space 9 in the TOS era. But since there's no room in TOS for anything as massive as the Dominion War, the setSo this is Trek-lit's attempt to do Deep Space 9 in the TOS era. But since there's no room in TOS for anything as massive as the Dominion War, the setting has to be pushed into a distant corner of the Federation and any long term consequences have to be covered up.
Also, there's a pretty big plot hole: (view spoiler)[If the Board of Inquiry against Reyes ended because of Pennington's news story, but the story then turns out to be bunk, shouldn't the Board of Inquiry take up the investigation again? (hide spoiler)]...more
I found this volume a big disappointment. This is basically a secret history of Assignment: Earth, but since we already know how that ended, there's nI found this volume a big disappointment. This is basically a secret history of Assignment: Earth, but since we already know how that ended, there's no real suspense in the big plot, and the 20th Century characters don't get themselves in that much personal danger (and we know from the beginning that at least two of them survive), so the only thing pulling the plot along is seeing Project Bluebook deal with all the aliens who've visited Earth in Star Trek, and that gets old halfway through the book.
And on top of that, the plot with Kirk is mostly unnecessary, and so chopped up by the 20th Century scenes that it's just a series of cliffhangers. It may've worked better if Ward had made some sort of parallel between Kirk dealing with mysterious time travelers and the Bluebook people dealing with aliens, but as is Kirk has explanations handed to him way too easily....more
This is certainly a monumental piece of research, the first truly comprehensive history of the original Star Trek since Whitfield's The Making Of StarThis is certainly a monumental piece of research, the first truly comprehensive history of the original Star Trek since Whitfield's The Making Of Star Trek almost half a century ago, written at a time when those involved had to watch what they say because they were all still working together. Between then and now we've had dozens of memoirs by pretty much everyone involved, from Shatner and Roddenberry down to the second assistant grip (okay, that may be an exaggeration). But these accounts are often contradictory and rely upon decades old memories which have been recast through constant retellings at conventions. (view spoiler)[Case in point is Nichelle Nichols' famous story about Martin Luther King telling her to keep on the show. Nowadays she tells it as a personal meeting with Dr. King in which he told her she had to keep at it so she could be a symbol for the Civil Rights movement. But talk to fans who attended conventions in the '70s and they'll say her original version was much less grandiose, involving her merely wondering to herself what Dr. King would advise her to do when she was contemplating quitting the series. (hide spoiler)] Cushman goes back to the source, dredging up memos from both the original production, NBC and even the original Nielsen ratings. The result is an excessively detailed, episode-by-episode account of the first season.
Each episode gets at least a dozen pages, starting with the initial story treatment and going all the way through post-production and initial airing. Along the way we get exerts from memos by various members of the production staff and their network liaison, Stan Robertson. And despite decades of stories about Robertson being a thorn in the side of production, it's clear here that he was a (somewhat frustrated) supporter of the series who often provided sound criticism of scripts and treatments, pointing out when the series was getting too repetitive (What, another episode involving an evil twin/shapeshifter? That's four in one season!) and urging the writers to take the action off the ship more often. The person who did the most to reshape stories turns out instead to be Robert Justman, the production's bean-counter whose reaction to everything was, "Too expensive." Gene Roddenberry also, it turns out, liked to dip his toe into the writing process much more than is normally reported. In fact, his rewriting of scripts by big name sci-fi authors like Bloch and Matheson left his first executive producer, John D.F. Black to leave the show.
Not that the rewriting wasn't necessary. Reading through the chapter about "City on the Edge of Forever," one can't help but realize that whatever the merits of Ellison's original script, it was not right for Star Trek. Ellison's story begins with a drug deal gone bad leading one Enterprise crewman to murder another. After a trial, Kirk takes him down to an alien planet for execution by firing squad. I'm sorry, but that isn't Star Trek. Ellison makes fun of Roddenberry's utopian idealism, but while there's certainly room for criticism there, it is that idealism that makes Trek memorable while Ellison is mainly remembered as that asshole who groped Connie Willis at a convention. (view spoiler)[Reading Ellison going on about how awesome he is makes the CotEoF chapter a real chore to get through, unfortunately. (hide spoiler)]
But as impressive as the book is, it's not without flaws. Published by a small press, there are more than a few spelling errors that should not've made it through to the printed book. Worse still, anytime Cushman discusses a subject that's not Star Trek -- and specifically not the original series -- he gets his facts wrong, from claiming that Bill Gates invented the PC, to saying that TNG explained why their Klingons look different by saying the Klingon Empire contains multiple species.
Overall this is a must-have for any Trek fan, but it could've been much better with a competent editor....more
I really wish Paramount would hire some of the Trek novel writers for the next movie instead of the idiots who gave us red matter and white Khan. In tI really wish Paramount would hire some of the Trek novel writers for the next movie instead of the idiots who gave us red matter and white Khan. In their hands Trek has devolved into Star Wars style action sequences interspersed with "drama" on the level of Tom Corbett: Space Cadet. At least the novel writers understand that Trek is supposed to be science fiction instead of blow 'em up action.
Shocks of Adversity is a great case in point. We begin with the Enterprise investigating a stellar anomaly far beyond Federation borders. After an accident leaves them stranded a hundred light years from the nearest Starbase, Captain Kirk accepts help from some passing aliens. At first they appear to be part of a multi-species civilization not unlike the Federation, but as the two crews work together we come to see that the alien culture is based upon authoritarianism and racism. But given the Prime Directive and their need for the alien's help, can the Enterprise crew do anything to help the oppressed crew of the other ship?
First contact! Suspense! Culture clash! Boldly going! This is what Star Trek's supposed to be, not pasty ass British dudes stealing jobs from Indian actors and crashing space ships into cities....more
Compared to David Mack's last epic Star Trek trilogy, this one gets off to a slow start with a criminal investigation -- somebody's stolen the bodiesCompared to David Mack's last epic Star Trek trilogy, this one gets off to a slow start with a criminal investigation -- somebody's stolen the bodies of all the Soong-type androids from the Daystrom Institute on Galor IV -- and lots of chasing around before going into a long flashback sequence about the life of Dr. Soong, and then, finally, getting to the good stuff with the Breen trying to create their own army of Soong-type androids. But with all the set-up out of the way now, hopefully the next two volumes will be all awesome....more
This book could've been a lot shorter if Data had said, "Captain, after analyzing 801,493,117 mystery stories, I've determined that 2,000,782 involveThis book could've been a lot shorter if Data had said, "Captain, after analyzing 801,493,117 mystery stories, I've determined that 2,000,782 involve cases where the murder victim's body is completely destroyed or otherwise rendered unidentifiable except by circumstantial evidence. Of these, in 99.783% of cases it turns out that the murder victim faked his own death for some reason."...more
Previously on Star Trek: The Typhon Pact we had the Cuban Missile Crisis in Space.
This time on Star Trek: The Typhon Pact, we have the Cuban Missile CPreviously on Star Trek: The Typhon Pact we had the Cuban Missile Crisis in Space.
This time on Star Trek: The Typhon Pact, we have the Cuban Missile Crisis in Space.
So to some extent the series is getting repetitive -- pretty much every TNG era book these days has to involve a show-down between the Khitomer powers and the Typhon Pact which will go right up to the edge of war without actually becoming one. And you know what, I don't care -- the original Star Trek was at its best when it was doing Cold War in Space stuff, something that's been sorely lacking for decades.
Plus, it means every book now is like The Final Reflection, only with the Typhon Pact nations, and exploring alien cultures is what Star Trek is all about (something else that Star Trek lost sight of after a certain point)....more
One of the best Star Trek novels since the days when John M. Ford and Diane Duane wrote for the series. You got battles, and intrigues, and politics,One of the best Star Trek novels since the days when John M. Ford and Diane Duane wrote for the series. You got battles, and intrigues, and politics, and galaxy spanning adventure, including the destruction of a major Star Trek landmark and the deaths of several major characters....more
Now this is how you write a Star Trek novel. You have a great cast -- Sisko, Picard, Spock, Ro -- tons of political intrigue, and copious amounts of sNow this is how you write a Star Trek novel. You have a great cast -- Sisko, Picard, Spock, Ro -- tons of political intrigue, and copious amounts of shit hitting the fan.
This is the sixth book in the Typhon Pact subseries, and you probably should read the predecessors first -- though skip the one with the Gorn; it sucked. In fact you should probably go back to the Destiny Trilogy to catch up fully. But the short version is this -- Starfleet's still reeling from a massive Borg invasion that left more than 60 billion people dead and a number of planets -- major ones like Risa, Khitomer and Deneva, and not Ceti Tau XII C -- in ruins. Then a bunch of second-tier villain races -- Tholians, Gorn, Breen, etc. -- decided now would be a great time to form an alliance to combat Federation hegemony. The Federation responded by expanding the Khitomer Accords to include the Cardassians and Ferengi. It's the Cold War in space with tensions high on both sides.
And this is the Cuban Missile Crisis.
In the tradition of all good thrillers, the story takes a while to get going -- the story covers a couple years, running parallel to the other Typhon Pact books -- but once you get to the second half it's like a Tom Clancy novel with a dozen major characters running around on little missions that come together for an explosive climax....more
Despite the title, this is more of a TOS novel where the characters from Bennett's previous book, Watching the Clock, pop-up intermittently, serving mDespite the title, this is more of a TOS novel where the characters from Bennett's previous book, Watching the Clock, pop-up intermittently, serving more as a framing device than actual characters. You could remove most of their scenes and the only affect it'd have is making the ending a deus ex machina.
The bulk of the novel focuses on how Starfleet and the Federation Science Council react to Kirk's various temporal adventures. On one side there's an admiral who sees great value in time travel, both for research and a possible weapon. On the other, there's a bureaucrat who wants to regulate the hell out of time travel to make sure no one rewrites history. All this leads to a secret time travel experiment which nearly destroys the universe we know, etc., etc.
Generic Trek novel -- the Enterprise goes to investigate a mysterious planet surrounded by a mysterious energy field built by a mysterious and long deGeneric Trek novel -- the Enterprise goes to investigate a mysterious planet surrounded by a mysterious energy field built by a mysterious and long dead civilization. Kirk and Spock mysteriously get trapped on the mysterious surface and have to investigate mysterious technology, while in space the Romulans show up and Scotty has to deal with them. Mysteriously.
For the first two-thirds of the book, the story was well executed despite its genericness, but unfortunately the final part ends up being a lot of run 'n' gun action as Kirk battles Romulan troops in a mysterious alien facility. The only suspense is which of the redshirts will die....more
I normally hate attempts to retcon a long list of inconsistencies into a coherent storyline, such as the execrable final season of Enterprise or the bI normally hate attempts to retcon a long list of inconsistencies into a coherent storyline, such as the execrable final season of Enterprise or the big reveal in season four of Angel, but Christopher Bennett does a fine job of fitting Star Trek's many contradictory accounts of time travel together while handwaving away the numerous plotholes, including the end of "Tomorrow Is Yesterday." For that alone he has my admiration.
The story follows various members of the Department of Temporal Investigations as they investigate various temporal anomalies while dealing with the uptime factions of the Temporal Cold War. Most prominently featured are Lucsly and Dulmur, introduced as joke characters in the DS9 episode "Trials and Tibble-ations" but here expanded into real characters. There's also Teresa Garcia, your standard issue reader-proxy newb whose main job is to have things explained to her, and a handful of other agents.
The book gets off to a slow start thanks to Teresa needing huge infodumps, and the actual plot doesn't get moving until almost a third of the way into the book, but once the real story gets going, it's an exciting ride....more
Nice to see Star Trek finally going down the dark path -- the Federation's still reeling from a Borg invasion that killed 70 billion people and a numbNice to see Star Trek finally going down the dark path -- the Federation's still reeling from a Borg invasion that killed 70 billion people and a number of minor races -- Tholians, Gorn, Breen, etc. -- have leagued together in the Typhon Pact to oppose Federation hegemony. And now political turmoil on Andor, which was severely damaged in the Borg invasion, threatens one of the founding members of the UFP. If only stories like this had been the follow-up to DS9 instead of lackluster crap like Voyager and Enterprise, Star Trek might still be around.
(And, no, that stupid Tom Corbett, Space Cadet film they passed off as Star Trek does not count.)...more
A fun collection of three novellas showing alt.history versions of the Star Trek universe.
1) The Embraces of Cold Architects (David R. George III) shoA fun collection of three novellas showing alt.history versions of the Star Trek universe.
1) The Embraces of Cold Architects (David R. George III) shows what would've happened if Best of Both Worlds had been a one part episode that ended with the Enterprise blowing up the Borg cube with Picard still on board. Or at least that's what it appears to be at first, though we soon learn that the real point of departure occurred months earlier and launched the Federation on a path almost as dark as a Borg victory. Once more Commander Riker has doomed us all.
2) The Tears of Eridanus (Steve Molmannand Michael Schuster) is the most radical departure. While the other stories in this volume show us alternate versions of the Federation, Tears imagines a galaxy in which Vulcans never embraced Surak's philosophy of logic and instead remained a dangerous child race, content to remain on Minshara nuking each other into the stone age. As a result the Andorians become the dominant civilization in the region, becoming the nucleus of the Interstellar Union. Nor does the Romulan Star Empire exist, the Romulans having remained on Vulcan to participate in the fun, which left extra room for the Klingons to expand in. But that is ending as the Klingons run out of breathing space and turn their gaze to the Union, which without the Romulan War to challenge it militarily, is much weaker than the Federation. Now Commander Sulu of the starship Kumari must contact the savage inhabitants of Vulcan, which lies on Klingons' most likely invasion corridor ...
3) Honor in the Night (Scott Pearson) is the best story of the bunch, but has the most seemingly inconsequential point of departure -- what if there'd been no tribbles on Space Station K7? At first glance, the only difference would seem to be in the number of lame puns Scotty gets to make, until you remember that it's the tribbles that twigged Kirk to the fact that the Klingons had poisoned the quadrotriticale. No tribbles, Kirk doesn't take the threat seriously and thousands of colonists die on Sherman's Planet, opening the way for the Klingons to grab that strategically important world. More importantly, it really pisses off Nilz Barris, who vows revenge against both the Klingons and Captain Kirk....more